Few partnerships in racing are as special as the one Bryony Frost enjoys with Frodon and the pair secured another landmark moment with victory in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton.
In a year which has seen Hollie Doyle continue to break new ground on the Flat, the 25-year-old secured two more records of her own with a tenacious two-and-a-quarter-length success aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained 20-1 chance in the Boxing Day highlight.
Not only did the result see Frost become the first female rider to win the historic Grade One contest, it also meant she passed Lucy Alexander’s total of 174 to become the winning-most female jump jockey in Britain – something she only realised she was on the brink of achieving on Christmas Day.
Frost said: “That’s a few boundaries crossed today and a few moulds broken.
“I’ve got a little book at home, dad (Grand National-winning jockey Jimmy Frost) used to do it. It’s a tiny little book and it has got the number of your rides, where it was, the horse, owner and trainer – from my very first pointing ride at Fleet Park, where I fell off at the last, to today.
“To put that in my book and to be thinking how many things we have achieved in one race is great.
“Hadden (Frost, brother) was on a WhatsApp video call (on Christmas Day) and he said ‘B’ do you realise you are one away from having the most winners as a female jumps jockey (in Britain).
“He said ‘imagine if you did it on Frodon in the King George?’. I just said ‘that doesn’t happen Hadden, stop being so silly’.
“I still can’t believe that me and Frodon can class ourselves a King George-winning pair. To me, though, I’ve won a King George on Frodon for Paul and the team and that is the big thing, regardless of the girl stuff, the winners and history.”
Despite Frodon disappointing at Aintree last time out in a race in which a number of fences were omitted, Frost – whose jubilation was perfectly captured when she exclaimed on ITV immediately afterwards: “We’ve just won the King George!” – was confident from an early stage a different result was in the offing.
She said: “Quite a few people said ‘how do you expect your chances will be?’ and I always say ‘I’m behind him 100 per cent’.
“This isn’t like Aintree. I brushed that under the carpet basically and I pretended like that never happened. I was coming straight from Cheltenham (when a handicap winner under a big weight in October) in my own head, as for a few reasons that (Aintree) didn’t happen for us.
“I thought about the gallop I set at Cheltenham and I weighed up what we did in the Grade Two last season and we tried putting that together and tried to set a gallop that he enjoyed. Once we crossed the sand and he pricked his ears going down to the first, I thought ‘we are on’.
“Santini was a small irritation for him as I couldn’t quite get the breathers I wanted to, but he came here in such rude health he just stuck his elbow out and kept moving forward the whole way.”
Part of what makes Frodon and Frost so special is the understanding between them – something the rider, who picked up a two-day ban for careless riding, feels has been integral to the success they have enjoyed on the track.
She said: “I know his limits as well as he does mine. We know how each other think out there, and when it is going right and when it isn’t. When it is right we are right on and when it isn’t I look after him, like I did at Aintree. He is one in a million.
“Every horse has their differences. A horse like him is extremely special. I would struggle to find any animal or human that would mean what he does to me – he understands me and I understand him. I will probably get the mickey taken out of me for talking about a horse like that, comparing him as a human. I feel you shouldn’t be in the game if you didn’t love your horses and I adore him.”
Another step forward will be required for Frodon to triumph in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March – but having already become the first female jockey to ride a Grade One winner over jumps at the meeting, when the duo won last year’s Ryanair Chase, Frost feels anything is possible.
She said: “Kempton isn’t our favourite track. We’ve come to a different stomping ground, which in my opinion is the wrong way (right-handed). Cheltenham is his playground, he absolutely adores it.
“It’s a different race entirely, to me though why not? I feel like he is just loving his racing career, so why not give him the chance to tackle the big guns on the big stage. You wouldn’t question his stamina today, he has run away with me the whole way.
“If Paul says we are going for the Gold Cup, I will follow him blind.”